This post was inspired by the NFL Draft. For those who don’t follow football, the 32 teams in the league take turns picking former college players, securing their rights with the hopes they’ll improve their squads. In total more than 250 players are drafted over the course of seven rounds.
While first and second round picks are highly touted and expected to make an immediate impact on their team, what ultimately makes a team’s draft a success is those later round picks. Team general managers are often graded by how well they uncover those hidden gems in rounds 3 through 7. For example, New England Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady, winner of three Super Bowls, is a former sixth round pick.
The same strategies applied in the NFL can be applied to your team. While you have people on your staff with titles like manager and leader who are crucial to your company’s success, you likely have employees with more mundane titles who are equally, if not more, important. They’re the ones who carry the influence. About half of all first round NFL picks – the ones tabbed to be leaders – are busts. But every team has those mid-round selections that go on to be stars. You need to find and nurture those team members. Here’s how:
Issue Challenges – Put out a request to your staff and see who steps up. On a level playing field, you’re bound to see some of those unheralded employees make an impression.
Open the Door – Or as Harvey Mackay says in Inc, “reinstate the good ol’ suggestion box.” Put out a call to your employees that you want to hear their ideas. After a while, you’ll see certain members of your staff showing consistent proactivity and innovation. Hidden superstars!
Dig Deeper – Sometimes you simply need to ask the right questions. You may have an individual on your staff that was hired for one skill set, but is a natural at completing other tasks. Get to know your employees beyond what it says on their resumes. The results may surprise you.
Have you ever discovered a hidden leader on your staff? How did that occur? Let’s talk about it.